With all the panels together, the next step was sewing in the boning channels. The pattern for this corset was not a direct copy of any particular Victorian corset, and instead I drew inspiration from several different corsets. Most of them are chorded, but I did not intend to use chords. The boning needed to support the full height of the corset and the gores without pressing against the gores in such a way that the bone ends created folds, creases, or un-even pressure. To this end, none of the bones followed the seams.
The front panels of the corset are held with a diagonally fanned pattern of bones. The left-hand panel as photographed below has all the channels sewn in place. I started from the busk and worked my way out. The right-hand panel shows the chalk mark for the outermost pair of bones. To make the mark I used a ruler and a rolling chalk marker, like the kinds marketed to quilters.
For the side panels I used pins to hold the layers together at the seams, and then sewed boning channels straight up the side. In this part of the corset I decided to use a 1/2″ bone, couched on either side by 1/4″ bones.
The boning at the back for the grommets is totally normal. It’s a 1/4″ bone to the outside edge, a 5/8″ gap for the size #0 grommets, and another 1/4″ bone. The one thing that bears mentioning is the little bit of black you can see sticking out of the grommet area at the top and bottom on both sides. I sewed a wide strip of twill tape into the corset along with the boning channels. This helps to re-enforce the grommets and is extra insurance they won’t pop free under stress.
The last two boning channels are two small bones facing diagonally up from the grommet bones. These are a common feature on historic corsets, which helps to keep the high back upright.